Monday, March 18, 2013

Dr. James R. White and the Essence of Idolatry

Our Creator clearly tells us that if we are to function as He has designed us to function, we must acknowledge Him not in any form we wish to, but as He truly is. God requires of us faith in Him as He exists, not as we would like to reshape and reform Him into our image and likeness.
Dr. James R. White, "THE THEOLOGY OF GOD IN ISAIAH 40-45"

True worship must worship God as He exists, not as we wish Him to be. The essence of idolatry is the making of images of God. An image is a shadow, a false representation. We may not bow before a statue or figure, but if we make an image of God in our mind that is not in accord with God’s revelation of Himself, then we are not worshiping in truth. Since sin and rebellion are always pushing us toward false gods and away from the true God, we must seek every day to conform our thinking and our worship to God’s straight-edge standard of truth, revealed so wonderfully in Scripture. We must be willing to love God as He is, and that includes every aspect of His being that might, due to our fallen state, be offensive to us, or beyond our limited capacities to fully comprehend. God is not to be edited to fit our ideas and preconceptions.
—Dr. James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity, p. 18

If we love Him and worship Him as He deserves, we will not dare to "edit" Him to fit our desires. Instead, we will seek to worship Him in truth.
—Ibid., p. 20

Uniqueness. Otherness. It is part of the meaning of the word "holy" itself, and God makes it plainly known that He is holy. No images, no likenesses of Him are to be allowed, for such would create a connection that does not exist. He is Creator, everything else is created. He is infinite, everything else is finite. God asks the questions of anyone who would compare Him to anything in the created order: 
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
 —Ibid., p.38

Monday, March 11, 2013

Benjamin Beddome on the Second Commandment

§ Is it a sin to worship the true God by images? Yes. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, for ye saw no manner of similitude, Deut. iv. 15, 16. Can we form any image of God in our minds? No. To whom will ye liken God? Isa. xl. 18. Is it impossible then to form it with our hands? Yes. For we must not think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone graven by art or man's device, Acts xvii. 29. Do those therefore that attempt it put a great affront upon him? Yes. They change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, Rom. i. 23.

Benjamin Beddome, A Scriptural Exposition of the Baptist Catechism